Ever wonder why some people continue to tan in the sun or in a tanning bed to the point their skin is like leather? They know it's dangerous, but they can't help wanting more.
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center say they believe the effects of UV rays are addictive.
"There's some evidence that UV does what morphine does to a person. It releases endorphins, which are sort of nature's painkillers," says Dr. Anthony Liguori, tanning researcher, Wake Forest.
"The heat feels almost like a massage. It's like any spa treatment. It's very relaxing," says Tara Hendrix, tanning study volunteer.
Here's how researchers came to that conclusion. They asked a group of frequent tanners to choose which tanning bed they wanted to use, not knowing that one had UV bulbs, the other had similar lamps, but without the UV rays. 91% went for the UV bed.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.